Don’t worry, readers, we are not going to bore you with a Coke vs. Pepsi kind of thing, but we are going to engage in some juxtaposition.
This week we are going to compare the output of two relatively small Nikko kura—Katayama Shuzo and Watanabe Sahei Shoten. We will begin with the sake produced by the former. Katayama Shuzo is located in Segawa, Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture. Its Kashiwazakari Hiyaoroshi (柏盛 ひやおろし) is a sake made from Yumesasara rice from Tochigi. It is a genshu, which means that no water has been added. This 55% seimai-buai has an abv of 17% and is considered to be slightly dry. It is an autumn sake (Hiyaoroshi). We found the nose to be bright and lively with distinct licorice notes. We also found it to be richer on the palate than Watanabe’s Sahei Shoten’s Nikko Homare Hiyaoroshi (日光誉 ひやおろし).
Watanabe Sahei Shoten is located in Imaichi , Nikko. The kura is slightly larger than that of Katayama. The sake that we tried was a Junmai Ginjo with a seimai-buai of 55% and an abv of 15%. Like the other sake we tasted, it is considered an autumn sake, but unlike the brew from Katayama it was made from Omachi rice. The nose was barely perceptible, but the palate had a pleasant sweetness. It had less body and, as mentioned, was not as rich as Katayama’s sake. This was probably owing to the lower alcohol level.